Artemisia Gentileschi

My very name was a flourish

Befitting a painter.

I chose to paint women

Someone had to

A man wasn’t going to show us

The way we were, would he?

I thought my teacher, Agostino Tassi

Would tutor me in painting

But he had another lesson in mind

He raped me

Tearing my canvas body.

Artemisia Gentileschi

Not so much painting he cried

Lusting after my skill

Seeking to break that with my body

They tortured me with thumbscrews at his trial

To be certain I was true

Upending a man’s world

Doesn’t happen easy, you see.

I drew him in paint

So he couldn’t silence me

Paraded his evil

Silent testimony

He did not break me

I had many loves after

Many paintings too

Tenebrism illuminated them

As my life seeped in my paints

I painted brave women

Women who suffered doubly as I had

Leered at in life and hung on walls

My women killed men on canvas

Waiting for that to happen IRL too

Women as they were

As I was

So generations of us to come

Would break through canvases

And live as we dreamed.

This came from an article I read about Artemisia Gentileschi. More on upcoming posts about famous women here.


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